Utility Sentry was created by a third party service and installation company that was hired to install and maintain the sub-metered water systems on properties throughout the United States. However, they found that over 95% of the issues brought to them by landlords and residents dealt with high consumption or high bills. An extraordinary amount of time and effort was expended to determine the root cause of these issues. In almost all cases, the high water consumption had been attributed to a running toilet or other fixture issue. These issues persisted for months, unnoticed, continuing to waste both water and money until they were able to be identified and corrected. Had personnel been alerted to these problems once they occurred, millions of gallons of water and hundreds of thousands of dollars could be have been saved.
Utility Sentry has changed the game when it comes to the Multi-Family sub-meter industry.
The primary concerns facing the sub-metering industry and its governing agencies include the lack of readily available data, delayed billing, and a way to insure that procedures and processes are adhered to. Leaks, waste and fixture issues presently are not identified for weeks if not months. However, the web based software developed by Utility Sentry makes all of this data easily viewable daily by owners, property managers, maintenance personnel, and residents.
In addition to displaying the collected data, Utility Sentry also makes available daily alert thresholds which will automatically notify enrolled parties via email when these thresholds have been exceeded. All of these features are great, but the real genius behind this new system is its adaptability. Utility Sentry can provide all of these advantages without the need for landlords to expend additional money to change or retrofit the existing AMR sub-metering system on the property.
Whats All The Flap About?
Time is short and conservation measures need to happen now—just ask California Governor Jerry Brown who on April 1 implemented unprecedented mandatory water restrictions due to dwindling water supplies. In an effort to make the most of our time, Bell Partners has monitored the water usage of over 24,000 individual apartment units. By partnering with Utility Sentry a leading leak detection company, we were able to save in excess of 33 million gallons of water in just 12 months.
We found that 98 percent of excess water use in apartments was the result of water flow in the toilets. The vast majority of the time the problem was the toilet flapper.
Armed with indisputable evidence that toilet flappers were the culprit for millions of gallons of wasted water, we decided to simply replace the toilet flappers in all 370 apartment units at an apartment community in North Carolina. We concluded that proactively alleviating leaks—versus reacting to them—was the best approach.
We continued to monitor the daily water usage and high usage alerts, expecting them to dramatically decline after the replacements had been completed. Instead, after three months we had not observed a dramatic reduction in the water usage of the apartment units, nor had we seen much of a reduction in the occurrence of high usage alerts. While acknowledging that flappers are not precision devices, it turns out that toilets are a little more complicated than we gave them credit for!
Wes Winterstein - Vice President of Utility Management for Bell Partners
Wes Winterstein is Vice President of Utility Management for Bell Partners’ portfolio of over 70,000 apartment homes. His extensive experience in utility billing and expense management provides unique focus and support to operations. He directs conservation initiatives, procurement strategies in deregulated markets, and manages solid waste and recycling performance for the organization.
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